Artist does roaring trade in pub signs

THE LION on the sign at the Red Lion pub in Bishop Sutton may not be very read, but he is certainly leonine.

Artist Graeme Robbins has painted the new sign to draw attention to the pub, and it has certainly worked for a lot of the other places where he has painted pub signs.

An artist and writer, Mr Robbins has had exhibitions of his own work in New York, Venice and London. His poetry has appeared in anthologies, and he is currently working on a short film.

But painting pub signs has been something which has brought him major attention.

"A few years ago, I was commissioned to paint the pub signs for the historically important Old Duke jazz and blues pub on Bristol's harbourside," he said.

"When I was finished, I was surprised at the level of press attention it received. So good was the response, the pub staff had to memorise my name, as so many customers would ask who had painted the pub sign."

This has brought him more commissions, including the Red Lion, at Bishop Sutton.

He was asked to paint something different than the usual heraldic lion. He said: "It had to be a strong enough image to slow passing traffic down and, most importantly, it had to get conversations going inside the pub."

Mr Robbins most enjoys sitting down with pub owners and getting to grips with their business needs.

"It may well be easier to send off a request to a sign company and get them to stick plastic letters all over the thing, with that being the end of it," he said.

"But that pub sign will be hung outside someone's business for everyone to see for many years, and I believe that it must be done properly, as it's not just me who has to like the end product.

"The whole of the local community will have an opinion on it."